Hippopotamus (genus)

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Temporal range: Pliocene - Recent [1] [2]
The river hippopotamus, Hippopotamus amphibius
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Hippopotamidae
Subfamily: Hippopotaminae
Genus: Hippopotamus
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Hippopotamus amphibius
Linnaeus, 1758
  • PhanouriosSondaar and Boekschoten, 1972

Hippopotamus is a genus of artiodactyl mammals consisting of one extant species, Hippopotamus amphibius , the river hippopotamus (or simply the hippopotamus), and several extinct species from both recent and prehistoric times. It belongs to the family Hippopotamidae, which also includes the pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) and a number of extinct genera.



The species of the genus Hippopotamus include:

Extant species

Extinct species

Related Research Articles

Hippopotamus Large, mostly herbivorous, semiaquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa

The hippopotamus, also called the hippo, common hippopotamus, or river hippopotamus, is a large semiaquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being the pygmy hippopotamus. Its name comes from the ancient Greek for "river horse" (ἱπποπόταμος).

Hippopotamidae Family of mammals

Hippopotamidae is a family of stout, naked-skinned, and semiaquatic artiodactyl mammals, possessing three-chambered stomachs and walking on four toes on each foot. While they resemble pigs physiologically, their closest living relatives are the cetaceans. They are formally referred to as hippopotamids.

Pygmy hippopotamus Small species of hippopotamus from West Africa

The pygmy hippopotamus or pygmy hippo is a small hippopotamid which is native to the forests and swamps of West Africa, primarily in Liberia, with small populations in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Ivory Coast. It has been extirpated from Nigeria.

Għar Dalam Cave and archaeological site in Malta

Għar Dalam is a 144 metre long phreatic tube and cave, or cul-de-sac, located in the outskirts of Birżebbuġa, Malta. The cave contains the bone remains of animals that were stranded and subsequently became extinct in Malta at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. It has lent its name to the Għar Dalam phase in Maltese prehistory, and is viewed as one of Malta's most important national monuments. Pottery similar to that found in Stentinello was found at Għar Dalam, but lacking details such as stamp decorations.

<i>Hippopotamus gorgops</i> Extinct species of mammal

Hippopotamus gorgops is an extinct species of hippopotamus. It first appeared in Africa during the late Pliocene, and eventually migrated into Europe during the early Pleistocene. It became extinct during the Middle Pleistocene. Fossil records found at Ubeidiya, Israel suggested that they migrated out of Africa around 1.6 million years ago. Some have speculated that H. gorgops and H. behemoth are actually the same species given their similar sizes and where they have been found scientist believe it behaved almost identical to modern day hippopotamuses.

Northern Congolian forest–savanna mosaic Forest and savanna ecoregion of Central Africa

The Northern Congolian forest–savanna mosaic is a forest and savanna ecoregion of central Africa. It extends east and west across central Africa, covering parts of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Uganda. It is part of the belt of transitional forest-savanna mosaic that lie between Africa's moist equatorial Guineo-Congolian forests and the tropical dry forests, savannas, and grasslands to the north and south.

Dwarf siren Genus of amphibians

Dwarf sirens are eel-like salamanders of the genus Pseudobranchus. Dwarf sirens possess external gills throughout adulthood and lack hind legs. Dwarf sirens can be distinguished from members of the genus Siren in that dwarf sirens have three toes on each foot rather than four. Like sirens, dwarf sirens are restricted to the Southeastern United States.

Whippomorpha Suborder of mammals

Whippomorpha or Cetancodonta is a group of animals that contains all living cetaceans and hippopotamuses, as well as their extinct relatives, i.e. Entelodonts and Andrewsarchus. All Whippomorphs are descendants of the last common ancestor of Hippopotamus amphibius and Tursiops truncatus. This makes it a crown group. Whippomorpha is a suborder within the order Artiodactyla. The placement of Whippomorpha within Artiodactyla is a matter of some contention, as hippopotamuses were previously considered to be more closely related to Suidae (pigs) and Tayassuidae (peccaries). Most contemporary scientific phylogenetic and morphological research studies link hippopotamuses with cetaceans, and genetic evidence has overwhelmingly supported an evolutionary relationship between Hippopotamidae and Cetacea. Modern Whippomorphs all share a number of behavioural and physiological traits; such as a dense layer of subcutaneous fat and largely hairless bodies. They exhibit amphibious and aquatic behaviors and possess similar auditory structures.

Cyprus dwarf hippopotamus Species of mammal (fossil)

The Cyprus dwarf hippopotamus or Cypriot pygmy hippopotamus is an extinct species of hippopotamus that inhabited the island of Cyprus until the early Holocene.

<i>Hippopotamus antiquus</i> Extinct species of mammal

Hippopotamus antiquus, sometimes called the European hippopotamus, is an extinct species of Hippopotamus that ranged across Europe during the Early and Middle Pleistocene.

<i>Hippopotamus lemerlei</i> Extinct species of mammal

Lemerle's dwarf hippopotamus is an extinct species of Malagasy hippopotamus.

Malagasy hippopotamus Species of hippopotamus on the island of Madagascar

Several species of Malagasy hippopotamus lived on the island of Madagascar but are now believed to be extinct. The animals were very similar to the extant hippopotamus and pygmy hippopotamus. The fossil record suggests that at least one species of hippopotamus lived until about 1,000 years ago and other evidence suggests that the species may have survived until much more recently. The taxonomy of these animals is not resolved and not widely studied. The various species are believed to have survived into the Holocene epoch.

Quaternary extinction event Mass extinction occurring around 10,000 BCE

The Quaternary period has seen the extinctions of numerous predominantly megafaunal species, which have resulted in a collapse in faunal density and diversity and the extinction of key ecological strata across the globe. The most prominent event in the Late Pleistocene is differentiated from previous Quaternary pulse extinctions by the widespread absence of ecological succession to replace these extinct species, and the regime shift of previously established faunal relationships and habitats as a consequence.

<i>Hippopotamus creutzburgi</i> Extinct species of mammal

Hippopotamus creutzburgi, the Cretan dwarf hippopotamus, is an extinct species of hippopotamus from the island of Crete. Hippopopotamus colonized Crete probably 800,000 years ago and lived there during the Middle Pleistocene. Bones of H. creutzburgi were found by Dorothea Bate on the Katharo plateau, in eastern Crete, in the 1900s. A similar species, the Cyprus dwarf hippopotamus lived on the island of Cyprus until the Holocene. It was at least 20% smaller than either subspecies of Cretan hippo.

Hippopotamus laloumena is an extinct species of hippopotamus from Holocene Madagascar. H. laloumena was much larger than other Malagasy hippos, but was still somewhat smaller than the common hippopotamus. However, little is known about the species because it was identified with only a lower jaw and limb bones. It was described in 1990 by French palaeontologists M. Faure and Guerin, the fossils recovered from a site near Mananjary on the east coast of Madagascar. The species name derives from Malagasy laloumena "hippopotamus".

A hippopotamus is a large, mostly herbivorous African mammal.


  1. "Fossilworks: Hippopotamus".
  2. "Fossilworks: Hippopotamus amphibius".
  3. Hooijer, Dirk Albert (1952). "Fact and Fiction in Hippopotamology (Sampling the History of Scientific Error)". Osiris. 10: 109–116. doi:10.1086/368549. JSTOR   301810. S2CID   143556059 . Retrieved 16 June 2021.

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